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Adjective vs. Perfect

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Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby pmda » Wed Mar 16, 2011 9:47 am

In LLPSI Orberg writes: Mense Augusto frumentum maturum est.

He then explains 'maturum' in the margin: as 'maturus, -a, -um'

Now this is a bit confusing. It seems to be that 'maturum est' is a perfect passive participle.... but is it also a simple adjective. Is he telling us here that it's an adjective or is he telling us that this is a participle...or is the distinction between the two evaporating..... I thend to think of the perfect participle as part of a tense...but I sense that that's not quite it....
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Re: Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby brookter » Wed Mar 16, 2011 11:15 am

I'm not certain about the grammatical niceties, and I'm sure that someone sapientior than I will be along shortly to be more precise, but is this one of those distinctions that English makes, but Latin doesn't? "...the grape has mutured" (present perfect) and "...the grape is mature" effectively have the same meaning.

French does something similar, I think: "il est mort" could be either "he is dead" or "he has died" and "mort", like matūrus can also be used as a straight adjective: l'homme mort.

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Re: Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby lauragibbs » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:37 pm

I'm not sure I understand your question - a participle of any kind is an adjective and can always be used as such, no problems there - but maturus is not a perfect passive participle. The -urus suffix there has an indication of futurity rather than completion, of an unfolding process - it is an old adjectival ending meaning "likely to, intending to, about to" - and the future participle (amaturus, futurus, venturus, etc.) evolved from this old adjectival ending.
The future is a funny business in all the Indo-European languages, as proto-I-E did not have a future tense and the languages had to evolve them on their own (which is why, for example, there ends up being the odd muddle of two quite different ways to form the future tense in Latin, one way for conjugations 1-2 and another way for 3-4 - and in English, of course, we use this crazy volitional "will" for the future, since there is not an actual future tense for English verbs). So the adjectival ending actually came first, and the future participle as a regular feature of Latin verb formation evolved later.
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Re: Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby adrianus » Wed Mar 16, 2011 2:55 pm

I'd say, if he writes "us -a -um" an adjective is meant here, and it's appropriate.
Ut mihi videtur, "-us -a -um" hîc scribendo adjectivum significatur, quod aptum est.
I'm writing in Latin hoping for correction, and not because I'm confident in how I express myself. Latinè scribo ut ab omnibus corrigar, non quod confidenter me exprimam.
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Re: Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby pmda » Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:52 pm

But if you wanted to write it as a perfect passive verb it would be exactly the same....right?
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Re: Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby thesaurus » Wed Mar 16, 2011 7:30 pm

pmda wrote:But if you wanted to write it as a perfect passive verb it would be exactly the same....right?


No, because not all adjectives are formed from perfect passive participles (the fourth principal part). Many adjectives are just that, adjectives. Maturus, a, um is an example. If you wanted to make this a compound verb, you'd need to write "maturatum est," which comes from "maturo, maturare, maturavi, maturatus."

Generally, perfect passive participles can be used as adjectives without problem, but the reverse isn't necessarily true.
Horae quidem cedunt et dies et menses et anni, nec praeteritum tempus umquam revertitur nec quid sequatur sciri potest. Quod cuique temporis ad vivendum datur, eo debet esse contentus. --Cicero, De Senectute
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Re: Adjective vs. Perfect

Postby calvinist » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:31 pm

As thesaurus said, not all adjectives come from the perfect passive paticiple. It works similarly in English. We have simple adjectives: good, bad, old, young. And then we have adjectives that are formed from a past participle: dried, aged, cured. Note that it makes perfect sense for these adjectives to be formed from the past participle because they denote a quality that resulted from an action: "dried cranberries" can be understood as "cranberries which have been dried" whereas "dry cranberries" would be understood as simply "cranberries which are dry". Latin does essentially the same thing with adjectives formed from the perfect passive participle, which is the Latin equivalent of the English past participle.
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